There are four Ukrainian military servicemen among those released from the occupied Donbas. Their names are Serhiy Ivanchuk, Yuriy Yavtushok, Ivan Deev and Roman Fursov. Ukraine's ombudsman Lyudmyla Denisova reported that on December 29.
"Four military men who spent a lot of time in captivity in the terporarily occupied part of Donbas were released, in particular", she wrote on Facebook.
Denisova added that all four are now in safety, on the Ukraine-controlled territory.
At Normandy Four meeting in Paris, Ukraine and the Russian Federation, Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin agreed to hold another round of prisoners’ exchange. President promised that by the end of 2019, 72 political prisoners would return to Ukraine.
Zelensky stated that the lists for the prisoners’ exchange with Russia in the format ‘all for all’ would be discussed on December 18 at Minsk Talks Group session. Later, the video conference was delayed until December 23.
Prisoners’ exchange was hampered by refusal of some detainees to return to Donbas, as media reported. A few dozens of people prepared for the return to occupied Donbas asked to exclude them from the exchange list due to the different reasons. So-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics accused Kyiv of delaying prisoner exchange negotiations.
On December 23, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko claimed that Minsk talks group has agreed on one group of prisoners to be exchanged between Kyiv and the self-proclaimed republics of Donbas. According to him, the Ukrainian side wanted to bring back as many people as possible before the New Year's eve. This is why the OSCE coordinator made the decision to hold a video conference and complete the work on the lists.
The current exchange procedure is the second prisoner swap between Ukraine and occupied Donbas. 74 Ukrainians were exchanged for 238 militants in December 2017.